Prairie Flower Casino Ready to Debut on Iowa-Nebraska Border

On the Nebraska-Iowa side of the Missouri River, a new tribal casino The Prairie Flower is starting to blossom.

The Ponca Tribe of Nebraska’s casino in Carter Lake—a city in Pottawattamie County, Iowa, and a suburb of Omaha, Nebraska—will open at noon on November 1. Phase 1 of the 9,500-square-foot Prairie Flower Casino, open 24/7, covers 5 acres of land and features 200 slot machines as well as food and entertainment—a full-service bar and a snack bar. Next phases of expansion are still undecided, Jimmy Centers, a tribal spokesman, told omaha.com.

The 24-hour Prairie Flower Casino, featuring 200 slot machines, expects to initially hire approximately 100 individuals to staff the facility. The tribe has hosted hiring fairs for recruitment. Approximately 20 percent of the current employees are tribal members. The Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, which counts nearly 4,300 tribal citizens, will allocate proceeds from the gaming venture toward programs and services, including a 60,000-square-foot health care clinic, job training, continuing education, land preservation and cultural arts. Meanwhile, the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska and the Prairie Flower Casino is demonstrating its support for the community by contributing $775,000 per year to Carter Lake to support police, fire and emergency responders, and for general community improvement.

Prairie Flower Casino in Carter Lake, Iowa (Courtesy Ponca Tribe)

Named for the daughter of Standing Bear, a 19th century Ponca chief, Prairie Flower Casino honors the young woman who passed away during the tribe’s 1877 Trail of Tears.

Her father gained notoriety two years later, arguing before the U.S. District Court proceeding in Omaha that Native Americans must be identified as “persons within the meaning of the law.” Before that, they were not.

“Our people lost not only land and holdings, but our culture and language, because of forced assimilation,” said Tribal Chairman Larry Wright Jr. “This will go a long way towards helping and bridging those gaps.”

“Casinos aren’t a panacea, but they’ll help us to diversify and be self-sustaining,” Wright added, in an interview with omaha.com.

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